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Castro announces Biodiversity Field Trip Grants

Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 01:28 PM

castro fieldtrip 031120ELGIN – Today, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) announced that Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School in Elgin and Glenbrook Elementary School in Streamwood have been awarded Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants given out by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“I’m grateful to hear that both Glenbrook Elementary and Elgin Math and Science Academy will be receiving grants,” Castro said. “We have great natural resources in this state. Taking students on a field trip to see some of them in person can be a wonderful experience.”

Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School will take students to the Northeast Neighborhood Association Butterfly Garden and Glenbrook Elementary School will plan a trip to  The Morton Arboretum, in Lisle.

“These field trips help get kids excited about scene,” Castro said. “We need more people to pursue important careers in the life sciences.”

The competitive grants were awarded by a team of judges after reviewing all applications. The deadline for Fiscal Year 2021 applications is January 31, 2021.

Joyce announces opportunities for economic development funding

Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 01:23 PM

joyce 031120SPRINGFIELD – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity  is now accepting applications from local governments, non-profit groups, and even private companies for a an $80 million economic development grant program, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced.

DCEO will allow organizations to compete for $50 million in public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million in regional economic development projects and $13 million for shovel-ready construction projects. Only local governments can apply for the public infrastructure grants, but the other programs are also open to local organizations and businesses.

Projects that may include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

“The projects funded by these grants could attract businesses and jobs to the South Lands,” Joyce said. “These grants are competitive, so I encourage as many local groups to apply as possible.”

Through a competitive selection process, DCEO will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

Koehler reminds Illinoisans of available tax assistance

Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 12:27 PM

incometaxhelp 031120SPRINGFIELD – Low income families and senior citizens seeking help filing their 2019 income taxes are able to receive free help through several state programs, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

“As Tax Day draws near, it’s vital that we ensure those who are in need receive the necessary help in an affordable, timely manner,” Koehler said. “By partnering with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the IRS and AARP we’re providing a way to relieve a burden for those who may be in need of it most.”

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, taxpayers who speak limited English and individuals 60 years of age or older.

Additionally, AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program focuses on helping low-to-moderate income individuals, with special attention to those over 50 years of age. An AARP membership is not required.

Illinois taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website tax.illinois.gov.

Murphy presents Governor’s Hometown Award to Schaumburg for Monarch Butterfly Initiative

Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:42 AM

murphy 031120SCHAUMBURG – State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) presented the Governor’s Hometown Award to the Village of Schaumburg in recognition of its Monarch Butterfly Initiative at a ceremony in Schaumburg Tuesday evening.

“I’m deeply proud to recognize Schaumburg as a recipient of the Governor’s Hometown Award,” said Murphy. “It’s always an honor to represent this community in the Illinois Senate, but projects like the Monarch Butterfly Initiative prove just how special our region is.”

The Governor's Hometown Awards recognize volunteers for their work in improving their communities. Schaumburg was one of 21 Illinois communities to receive the award this year. The village was also honored with the award in 2014 for its Older Adult Market.

The Schaumburg Monarch Butterfly Initiative was started by three friends who shared a passion to preserve the iconic monarch butterfly, but it soon grew into a community-wide conservation effort to rescue the official state insect of Illinois from extinction.

Despite being one of the most recognizable and well-studied butterflies on the planet, monarch butterfly populations are in decline, threatened by herbicides, climate change and human development.

In just a year, the Monarch Butterfly Initiative team recruited more than 60 volunteers and raised over $3,500 to increase awareness and preserve the species. They worked with the local park district to construct a butterfly rearing and education station, and after 2,300 hours of volunteer work, they have raised and released nearly 600 monarchs.

“Thanks to this project and other conservation efforts, we will be able to associate this amazing, vibrant insect with our great home state for many years to come,” said Murphy.

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